After conducting a thorough raid on activist Teesta Setalvad’s residence and office till late Tuesday evening, the CBI now claims to have found documents on her, that prove she, along with her husband Javed Anand, and Gulam Mohammed Peshimam, had violated the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
The raid by the federal agency was a follow up to the CBI case registered against the trio for “illegally” accepting foreign aid. According to officials, papers found at the raided properties support the allegations that their company, Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. was receiving foreign funds, from the US based Ford Foundation, without prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is in violation of the FCRA.
The CBI had been scrutinising Sabrang’s documents and bank account details after the MHA had ordered a probe into the transfer of funds by Ford Foundation to Sabrang Communication and Publishing. The SCPPL, in accepting a donation of $2.9 lakh from the Ford Foundation, without getting a clearance from the Home Ministry, had allegedly violated the rules of Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). As per rules, registration under the FCRA is the compulsory criterion for any organization or firm to accept overseas donations.
Confirming that they have found evidence to prove the case of misappropriation of foreign funds received “illegally”, officials have said that they will carry further searches if need arises. “The CBI team recovered some documents which support the allegations”, said CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad. Javed Anand and Peshimam, co-directors of Sabrang, are also under the CBI scanner.
Teesta Setalvad, who has played a pioneering role in securing justice for the 2002 Gujarat riots victims, has been in news for her continuous confrontations with the Gujarat state government and the now BJP ruled Centre. She has condemned the search, calling it political vendetta, aimed at humiliating the activist and her comrades.